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MS 7538 Research in Contemporary Cultures Documents

Research in Contemporary Cultures  Search this
Benedict, Ruth, 1887-1948  Search this
Landman, Ruth H.  Search this
400 Items (ca. pages (not counted ca. 400 pages (not counted)
Germany, Nazi  Search this
Rumania  Search this
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scope and Contents:
Consists of Manual for field worked (mostly mimeograph articles by several different authors; an anaylsis of the motion picture film "Hitlerjunge Quex"; and Ruth Benedict,"Rumanian Culture and Behavior," November 1943.
Local Numbers:
NAA MS 7538
Local Note:
Mostly mimeographed documents; some printed
Other Title:
Hitlerjunge Quex (anaysis by Columbia University Research in Contemporary Cultures)
Anthropology -- methodology  Search this
Motion picture (anthropological analysis)  Search this
Manuscript 7538, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives

Ruth Landes papers

Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978  Search this
Boas, Franz, 1858-1942  Search this
Wallis, Ruth Sawtell, 1895-1978  Search this
Wagley, Charles, 1913-1991  Search this
Lopez, Salvador  Search this
Little, Kenneth  Search this
Wilson, Maggie  Search this
Whitecloud, Thomas St. Germain  Search this
Henry, Jules, 1904-1969  Search this
Hellman, Ellen  Search this
Haugen, Einar  Search this
Gough, Kathleen  Search this
Lewis, Oscar  Search this
Kaberry, Phyllis Mary, 1910-  Search this
Imes, Elmer Samuel, 1883-1941  Search this
Strong, William Duncan, 1899-1962  Search this
Steyn, Anna F.  Search this
Spier, Leslie, 1893-1961  Search this
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962  Search this
Solecki, Ralph S.  Search this
Sparta, Francisco  Search this
Rubin, Joan  Search this
Rubin, Vera  Search this
Rodnick, David  Search this
Rogers, Edward S.  Search this
Ritzenthaler, Robert E. (Robert Eugene), 1911-1980  Search this
Roberts, Robert W.  Search this
Ramo, Arthur  Search this
Richards, Audrey  Search this
Preston, Richard J.  Search this
Verger, Pierre  Search this
Vennum, Thomas  Search this
Topash, Mary  Search this
Topash, Joe  Search this
Teskey, Lynn  Search this
Taylor, Beryl  Search this
Tanner, Helen Hornbeck  Search this
Densmore, Frances, 1867-1957  Search this
Quain, Buell H. (Buell Halvor), 1912-1939  Search this
Dunning, William  Search this
Douglas, William A.  Search this
Eggan, Fred, 1906-1991  Search this
Edmondson, Munro S.  Search this
Black, Mary B.  Search this
Benedict, Ruth, 1887-1948  Search this
Domengeaux, James  Search this
Feldman, Albert G.  Search this
Feder, Norman  Search this
Gacs, Ute  Search this
Franklin, John Hope  Search this
Ewers, John C. (John Canfield), 1909-1997  Search this
Erickson, Vincent O.  Search this
Falk, Minna R.  Search this
Faitlovitch, V.  Search this
Alberto Torres, Heloisa  Search this
Buck, Pearl  Search this
Bruce, Harold E.  Search this
Borri, Rina  Search this
Boggs, Stephen Taylor  Search this
Arensberg, Conrad M. (Conrad Maynadier), 1910-1997  Search this
Baldus, Herbert  Search this
Barnouw, Victor  Search this
Bateson, Mary Catherine  Search this
Lurie, Nancy Oestreich  Search this
Malherbe, E. G. (Ernst Gideon), 1895-  Search this
Marks, Eli S.  Search this
Masha, Louise  Search this
Maslow, Will  Search this
Masquat, Joseph M.  Search this
Mayer, Kurt B.  Search this
McWilliams, Carey  Search this
Bunche, Ralph J.  Search this
Carneiro, Edison  Search this
Chilver, E. M.  Search this
Chilver, Richard  Search this
Clifton, James A.  Search this
Colson, Elizabeth F.  Search this
Daveron, Alexander  Search this
Lowenfeld, Margaret, 1890-1973  Search this
Officer, James E.  Search this
Odum, Howard W.  Search this
Park, Alice  Search this
Paredes, Anthony  Search this
Paton, Alan, 1903-1988  Search this
Park, George  Search this
Prado, Idabel do  Search this
Peschel, Keewaydinoquay M.  Search this
Merwe, Hendrik W. van der  Search this
Murphy, Robert Francis  Search this
Messing, Simon D.  Search this
Neumann, Anita  Search this
Nef, Evelyn Stefansson  Search this
Nocktonick, Louise  Search this
Neumann, Walter  Search this
Landes, Ruth, 1908-1991  Search this
Committee on Fair Employment Practices  Search this
Fisk University  Search this
Research in Contemporary Cultures  Search this
Johnson, Charles S.  Search this
Landes, Ruth, 1908-1991  Search this
Park, Robert E.  Search this
26.5 Linear feet ((63 document boxes and 1 oversized box))
Anishinaabe (Chippewa/Ojibwa)  Search this
Dakota (Eastern Sioux)  Search this
African  Search this
Acadians  Search this
Indians of North America -- Great Plains  Search this
Jews -- American  Search this
Latinos -- California  Search this
Brazilians  Search this
Basques  Search this
American Indians  Search this
Afro-Brazilians  Search this
Africans  Search this
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Quebec -- Bilingualism
United Kingdom -- colored immigration
South Africa
Most of Ruth Landes's papers relate directly or indirectly to Landes's American Indian research, her work in Brazil, and her study of bilingualism. There is also a considerable amount of material that relates to her experiences (sometimes fictionalized) at Fisk University. There is only small amount of material related to her other interests. Her collection also has material of and relating to the Brazilian folklorist and journalist Edison Carneiro. There is also noteworthy material concerning Herbert Baldus, Ruth Benedict, Elmer C. Imes, Charles S. Johnson, and Robert E. Park. There is a large amount of printed and processed materials in the collection, mainly in the form of newspaper clippings and a collection of scholarly papers.
Scope and Contents:
This collection is mainly comprised of the professional papers of Ruth Schlossberg Landes. Included are correspondence, journals, published and unpublished manuscripts of writings, research materials including field notes and reading notes, photographs, drawings, scholarly papers and publications by other scholars, and clippings from newspapers and periodicals.

Landes's field research on Candomblé in Brazil is well-represented in this collection, consisting of her field journals, writings, and photographs. Also present are Maggie Wilson's stories that were the basis for Landes's The Ojibwa Woman. Unfortunately, Landes was unable to locate her journals for her early research with the Ojibwa/Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Dakota. There are, however, field photographs of the Ojibwa/Chippewa and Potawatomi in the collection. There is also a great deal of her research on groups, especially minorities, in multilingual states with particular focus on the French of Quebec, Basques of Spain and the United States, Boers and Blacks of South Africa, the several socio-linguistic groups of Switzerland, and Acadians (Cajuns) of Louisiana. In the collection are several drafts of her unpublished manuscript on bilingualism, "Tongues that Defy the State." There is also a small amount of material about Black Jews of New York and considerable material about Landes's experience among African Americans when she taught briefly at Fisk University, including her unpublished manuscript "Now, at Athens," containing fictional and autobiographical accounts of her time at Fisk.

Reflections of other facets of Landes's professional activities are also included. Some materials concern her teaching activities, and there is also documentation of her work with the Fair Employment Practices Commission (a federal government agency during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt) and a similar private organization which immediately succeeded the FEPA; Gunnar Myrdal's research into the plight of African Americans ("The Negro in America"); the Research in Contemporary Cultures project at Columbia University; and the American Jewish Congress.

Among Landes's correspondents are Ruth Benedict, Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, Ralph Bunche, Herbert Baldus, Edison Carneiro, Sally Chilver, Frances Densmore, Sol Tax, Elmer S. Imes, Charles S. Johnson, Robert E. Park, and Hendrik W. van der Merwe.
The collection is organized into 6 series: (1) Correspondence, 1931-1991; (2) Research Materials, circa 1930s-1990; (3) Writings, circa 1930s-1990; (4) Teaching Materials, 1935-1975, undated; (5) Biographical and Personal Files, 1928-1988; (6) Graphic Materials, 1933-1978, undated
Biographical Note:
Ruth Schlossberg Landes was born on October 8, 1908 in New York City. Her father was Joseph Schlossberg, an activist in the Yiddish labor socialist community and one of the founders of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. She studied sociology at New York University (B.A. 1928) and social work at the New York School of Social Work, Columbia University (M.S.W. 1929). While in graduate school, Landes studied Black Jews in Harlem for her master's thesis, a topic that developed her interests in anthropology.

After graduating in 1929, she worked as a social worker in Harlem and married Victor Landes, a medical student and son of family friends. Their marriage ended after two years when she enrolled in the doctoral program in anthropology at Columbia against her husband's wishes. She kept his surname due to the stigma of being a divorced woman.

At Columbia, Landes studied under Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict, her main advisor. Under the guidance of Benedict, Landes moved away from further study of African Americans to focus on Native American communities. Upon Benedict's suggestion, Landes studied the social organization of the Ojibwa in Manitou Rapids in Ontario from 1932 to 1936 for her Ph.D. fieldwork. Her dissertation, Ojibwa Sociology, was published in 1937. Landes also contributed "The Ojibwa of Canada" in Cooperation and Competition among Primitive Peoples (1937), a volume edited by Margaret Mead. In 1938, Landes published Ojibwa Women (1938), a book written in collaboration with Maggie Wilson, an Ojibwa interpreter and informant.

In addition to studying the Ojibwa in Ontario, Landes also conducted fieldwork with the Chippewa of Red Lake, Minnesota in 1933, working closely with shaman or midé Will Rogers. Her book, Ojibwa Religion and the Midéwiwin (1968) was based largely on her research with Rogers and Maggie Wilson. In 1935 and 1936, she undertook fieldwork with the Santee Dakota in Minnesota and the Potawatomi in Kansas. Like Ojibwa Religion and the Midéwiwin, her books on the Santee Dakota and Potawatomi were not published until several years later—The Mystic Lake Sioux: Sociology of the Mdewakantonwan Sioux was published in 1968 while The Prairie Potawatomi was published in 1970. In between her field research in the 1930s and the publication of The Prairie Potawatomi, Landes returned to Kansas to study the Potawatomi in the 1950s and 1960s.

Landes's plan to continue her studies with the Potawatomi in 1937 changed when Benedict invited her to join a team of researchers from Columbia University in Brazil. Landes was to conduct research on Afro-Brazilians in Bahia, Brazil, while Walter Lipkind, Buell Quain, and Charles Wagley studied indigenous people in the Amazons. To prepare for her research, Landes was at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1937 and 1938 to consult with Robert Park and Donald Pierson and to use the university's library collections of African and African American materials. During that time, Landes also held a teaching position at Fisk and lived in the non-segregated women's residence on campus. Landes later wrote "Now, at Athens," an unpublished memoir containing fictional and true accounts of her experiences at Fisk.

From 1938 to 1939, Landes conducted fieldwork on the role of Afro-Brazilian women and homosexuals in the Candomblé religion in Bahia, Brazil. Unable to move freely by herself in Brazil as a single woman, Landes was accompanied by Edison Carneiro, a Bahian journalist and folklorist. With Carneiro as her companion, Landes was allowed access to rituals and people that would have been closed off to her otherwise. Due to her association with Carneiro, a member of the Brazilian Communist Party, Landes was suspected of being a communist and was forced to leave Bahia early. Publications from her research in Brazil include "A Cult Matriarchate and Male Homosexuality" (1940) and City of Women (1947). She returned to Brazil in 1966 to study the effects of urban development in Rio de Janeiro. In 1967, a Portuguese translation of City of Women was published, a project that Carneiro had commissioned as the first director of the Ministry of Education and Culture's Special National Agency for the Protection of Folklore.

Landes returned to New York in 1939, working briefly as a researcher for Gunnar Myrdal's study of African Americans. Unable to obtain a permanent position at a university, she worked in several other short term positions throughout most of her career. During World War II, Landes was a research director for the Office of the Coordinator for Inter-American Affairs (1941) and consultant for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fair Employment Practices Committee on African American and Mexican American cases (1941-44). In 1945, Landes directed a program created by Pearl S. Buck and a group of interdenominational clergy to analyze pending New York anti-discrimination legislation. She moved to California the following year to work for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Welfare Council on a study of race and youth gangs. After her contract ended, she moved back to New York and was hired as a contract researcher for the American Jewish Congress (1948-50). She also participated in Columbia University's Research in Contemporary Cultures (1949-51), studying Jewish families. She coauthored with Mark Zborowski, "Hypothesis concerning the Eastern European Jewish Family." From 1951 to 1952, Landes spent a year in London, funded by a Fulbright fellowship to study colored colonial immigrants and race relations in Great Britain.

After her fellowship ended, Landes returned to the United States and held short term appointments at several universities. She taught at the William Alanson White Psychiatric Institution in New York (1953-54), the New School for Social Research in New York (1953-55), University of Kansas (1957, 1964), University of Southern California (1957-62), Columbia University (1963), Los Angeles State College (1963), and Tulane University (1964). At Claremont Graduate School, Landes helped to develop and direct the Claremont Anthropology and Education Program (1959-62).

It was not until 1965 that Landes obtained a permanent faculty position at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario; she was recruited for the position by Richard Slobodin. Due to Ontario's age retirement law, Landes was forced to retire in 1973 at the age of 65. She continued to teach part-time until 1977, when she became professor emerita.

Landes passed away at the age of 82 on February 11, 1991.

Sources Consulted

Cole, Sally. 2003. Ruth Landes: A Life in Anthropology. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.


1908 October 8 -- Born Ruth Schlossberg in New York City

1928 -- B.A. in sociology, New York University

1929 -- M.S.W., New York School of Social Work, Columbia University

1929-1931 -- Social worker in Harlem Married to Victor Landes

1929-1934 -- Studied Black Jews in Harlem

1931 -- Began graduate work in anthropology at Columbia University

1932-1936 -- Studied the Ojibwa in Ontario and Minnesota (in field periodically)

1933-1940 -- Research Fellow, Columbia University

1935 Summer-Fall -- Studied the Santee Sioux (Dakota) in Minnesota

1935-1936 -- Studied the Potawatomi in Kansas

1935 -- Ph.D., Columbia University

1937 -- Instructor, Brooklyn College

1937-1938 -- Instructor, Fisk University

1938-1939 -- Studied Afro-Brazilians and Candomblé in Brazil, especially at Bahia

1939 -- Researcher on Gunnar Myrdal's study, "The Negro in America"

1941 -- Research Director, Office of Inter American Affairs, Washington, D.C.

1941-1945 -- Representative for Negro and Mexican American Affairs, Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC), President Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration

1944 -- Interim Director, Committee Against Racial Discrimination, New York

1946-1947 -- Researcher, study of Mexican American youth, gangs, and families, Los Angeles Metropolitan Council

1948-1951 -- Researcher, American Jewish Congress, New York

1949-1951 -- Research consultant, study on Jewish families in New York for Research in Contemporary Cultures Project, Columbia University

1951-1952 -- Fulbright Scholar, to study colored colonial immigration into Great Britain

1953-1954 -- Lecturer, William Alanson White Psychiatric Institution, New York

1953-1955 -- Lecturer, New School for Social Research, New York

1956-1957 -- Married to Ignacio Lutero Lopez

1957 Summer -- Visiting Professor, University of Kansas

1957-1958 -- Visiting Professor, University of Southern California

1957-1965 -- Consultant, California agencies (Department of Social Work, Bureau of Mental Hygiene, Department of Education, Public Health Department) and San Francisco Police Department

1958-1959 -- Director, Geriatrics Program, Los Angeles City Health Department

1959-1962 -- Visiting Professor and Director of Anthropology and Education Program, Claremont Graduate School

1962 -- Extension Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles and University of California, Berkeley

1963 -- Extension Lecturer, Columbia University Extension Lecturer, Los Angeles State College

1963-1965 -- Consultant, International Business Machines (IBM)

1964 January-June -- Visiting Professor, Tulane University

1964 Summer -- Field work with Potawatomi in Kansas Professor, University of Kansas

1965-1975 -- Professor at McMaster University

1966 -- Studied urban development in Rio de Janeiro

1968-1975 -- Studied bilingualism and biculturalism in Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, United States, and Canada (in Spain and the United States concentrated on Basques)

1975 -- Became part-time faculty member at McMaster University

1977 -- Professor Emerita, McMaster University

1978 -- Award of Merit from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

1991 February 11 -- Died in Hamilton, Ontario

1991 -- Establishment of the Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund at Research Institute for the Study of Man (RISM)
Related Materials:
Correspondence from Ruth Landes can be found in the William Duncan Strong Papers, the Leonard Bloomfield Papers, and MS 7369. The Ruth Bunzel Papers contains a copy of a grant application by Landes.
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Ruth Landes in 1991.
The Ruth Landes papers are open for research. The nitrate negatives in this collection have been separated from the collection and stored offsite. Access to nitrate negatives is restricted due to preservation concerns.

Access to the Ruth Landes papers requires an appointment.
Contact the repository for terms of use.
African Americans  Search this
Language and languages -- Documentation  Search this
Indians of North America -- Northeast  Search this
Midéwiwin  Search this
Bilingualism  Search this
Aging  Search this
Candomblé (Religion)  Search this
Ruth Landes papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Ruth Landes papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
Online Media:

Ruth Leah Bunzel Papers

Bunzel, Ruth Leah, 1898-1990  Search this
16 Linear feet (29 boxes, 2 audio reels)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
The bulk of this collection documents the professional life of Ruth Leah Bunzel from the 1940s to 1970s. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, notes, research files, teaching materials, card files, artwork, and sound recordings.
Scope and Contents:
The bulk of this collection documents the professional life of Ruth Leah Bunzel from the 1940s to 1970s. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, notes, research files, teaching materials, card files, artwork, and sound recordings. A large portion of the collection is comprised of work from the Chinese project that Bunzel led as part of Columbia University Research in Contemporary Cultures [RCC]. The collection also contains her paper for the Bureau of Applied Social Research, "Interviewing in National Character Research" (in which she analyzes the methods used in RCC), as well as materials from two spin-offs of RCC--Studies in Soviet Culture and Studies in Contemporary Cultures. Bunzel's relationship with Columbia University is also represented in the collection through her notes as lecturer and adjunct professor at Columbia University, correspondence with her students, and her students' papers. Among her students was Ethel Cutler Freeman, whose letters and assignments can be found in the collection. There are also memos and other materials documenting the activities of the anthropology department and university, as well as their responses to the 1968 student uprising at Columbia. In addition, the collection contains notes from courses Bunzel took with Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict as a graduate student at Columbia.

Other items of significance are the drawings of Hopi and Zuni kachinas that Bunzel collected while in the field in the Southwest and a map of a Tewa village sketched in pencil. The collection does not contain any of her field notes from her work in the Southwest nor from her work in Guatemala or Mexico.

Although Bunzel's writings are not well represented in the collection, there are items of interest such as typescript copies of "Tentative Questionnaire for Handbook of Psychological Leads for Ethnological Field Workers: Economics," her handwritten reminiscence of Boas, and drafts of papers she presented at conferences. Also of interest are notes on her memories of the Abram Kardiner psychocultural seminars (in which she was an early participant), notes from various seminars, and two 1963 sound recordings from an Anthropology and World Affairs regional conference.

Among her notable correspondents in the collection are David F. Aberle, Franziska Boas, Steve Boggs, Paul Bohannan, Joseph Casagrande, Vincent Crapanzano, Harold Driver, Abe Edel, Raymond Fogelson,Morton H. Fried, Ethel Cutler Freeman, Alexander Lesser, Oscar Lewis, George Marcus, Catharine McClellan, Margaret Mead, Lita Fejos Osmundson, George Spindler, Leslie White, Helene Boas Yampolsky, and Mark Zborowski.
Arranged into 9 series: (1) Correspondence, 1957-1977; (2) Research in Contemporary Cultures, 1947-1954; (3) Columbia University, 1925-1941 & 1956-1969; (4) Writings and Projects, 1929-1968 [Bulk 1960-1968]; (5) Associations, Conferences, & Seminars, 1940-1973; (6) Writings by Others, 1921-1979; (7) Card Files; (8) Artwork; (9) Sound Recordings, 1963
Biographical Note:
Ruth Leah Bunzel was born on April 18, 1898 in New York City. Known as "Bunny" by her friends, she attended Barnard College where she received her B.A. in European History in 1918. With no thought of continuing her education, she acquired a job in 1922 as secretary and editorial assistant to Franz Boas at Columbia University. Esther Goldfrank, who had resigned as Boas's secretary to study anthropology at Columbia, was a friend of one of Bunzel's sisters.

By 1924 Bunzel, herself, was considering a career in anthropology and wanted to observe an anthropologist at work in the field. Since Boas traveled to Europe every summer, Bunzel decided to spend her vacation that year in Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico as a secretary to Ruth Benedict, who would be collecting Zuni mythology. When she informed Boas of her plan, Boas encouraged her to work on her own research rather than spending her time on secretarial work. He suggested that she study art, specifically potters and their pottery. Elsie Clews Parsons objected to Bunzel (who lacked formal training) conducting her own research in Zuni and threatened to withdraw her financial support of Benedict's mythology project. With Boas's firm backing, Parsons eventually relented and Bunzel was allowed to go to Zuni.

That summer, Bunzel arrived in Zuni with papier maché pots she had made for her informants to paint designs on. She observed the potters at work and also made pottery alongside them. After five weeks she felt she had gathered enough information on the Zuni and moved on to study Hopi, San Ildefonso, and Acoma potters. The results of her research would later produce her dissertation, The Pueblo Potter, A Study of Creative Imagination in Primitive Art, published in 1929.

When she returned to New York, she began work on a draft of The Pueblo Potter and in 1925 resigned as Boas's secretary to become his student at Columbia University. Although she completed her doctoral work and dissertation in 1927, she was not awarded her PhD until 1929 when the The Pueblo Potter was published. (At the time, the university did not confer doctorates until a student's dissertation had been published.) The Pueblo Potter, a landmark work, was the first anthropological study of art and the individual in culture.

From 1924 to 1929 Bunzel spent several summers and winters in Zuni. Parsons, who had initially opposed her first trip, sponsored Bunzel's second trip, this time to study ceremonialism, and other trips and projects. Bunzel's papers on Zuni ceremonialism as well as creation myths, kachinas, and poetry were published in the 47th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology (1932). Flora Zuni and her family, with whom Bunzel lived when she was in the field, formally adopted her and initiated her into their clan, the Beaver clan. They gave her the Zuni name Maiatitsa, which means "blue bird," a reference to the blue smock that Bunzel often wore while making pottery. Bunzel's second Zuni name, Tsatitsa, was given to her by her primary informant and former governor of the pueblo, Nick Tumaka. After a decade long absence, Bunzel returned to Zuni for her last time in 1939 to study child development.

Having studied the Southwest, Bunzel felt it was natural to also study Mexico. During her interview for a Guggenheim Fellowship, however, the chairman of the foundation persuaded her to study Guatemala, instead, as no American anthropologist had done much work in the area. As a result, from 1930 to 1932 she studied the Highland Mayan village of Santo Tomas Chichicastenango. Her work there resulted in Chichicastenango, A Guatemalan Village, published in 1952. From 1936 to 1937 she also did fieldwork in the village of Chamula in Chiapas, Mexico. Her 1940 article "The Role of Alcoholism in Two Central American Communities" was a comparative study of Chichicastenango and Chamula. During World War II, Bunzel worked in England for the U.S. Government Office of War Information from 1942 to 1945. Having spent some time in Spain during the late 1930s improving her Spanish, she translated broadcasts for Spain as well as incoming broadcasts.

When she returned to New York after the war, she became involved in the Columbia University Research in Contemporary Cultures project [RCC]. Directed by Ruth Benedict and funded by the Office of Naval Research, RCC was composed of research groups, each studying a different culture. From 1947 to 1951, Bunzel led the group studying China, which involved interviewing Chinese immigrants in New York City. The project produced several papers, including her unpublished manuscripts, Explorations in Chinese Culture and An Anthropological Approach to Chinese Communism, which she co-authored with John Hast Weakland.

Early in her career, Bunzel was a lecturer at Barnard College (1929-1930) and at Columbia University (1933-1935, 1937-1940). It was not until 1953 that she was hired as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia. Although the university's official appointment card lists Bunzel as having retired in 1966, she continued to teach at Columbia University after her retirement.

On January 14, 1990, Bunzel passed away at the age of 91.

Sources Consulted

Babcock, Barbara A. and Nancy Parezo. "Ruth Bunzel." Daughters of the Desert. University of New Mexico. 1988.

Fawcett, David M. and Teri McLuhan. "Ruth Leah Bunzel." Women Anthropologists: Selected Biographies. Ed. Ute Gacs, et al. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1989.


1898 -- Born April 18 in New York, New York

1918 -- Earns B.A. from Barnard College in European History

1922-1924 -- Secretary and editorial assistant to Franz Boas

1924 -- First trip to Zuni, New Mexico

1925 -- Enrolls in Columbia University's graduate program in anthropology

1925-1929 -- Spends summers and winters conducting fieldwork among the Zuni

1927-1928 -- Studies at University of Chicago

1928-1943 -- Executive Committee Board of AAA

1929 -- Studies at the National University of Mexico Publication of dissertation, The Pueblo Potter, A Study of Creative Imagination in Primitive Art Receives Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University

1929-1930 -- Lecturer at Barnard College

1930-1932 -- Fieldwork in Chichicastenango, Guatemala

1933-1935 -- Lecturer, General Studies and Summer Session, Columbia University

1936-1937 -- Lecturer, General Studies and Summer Session, Columbia University

1939 -- Fieldwork in Zuni studying child development

1942-1945 -- Social Scientist U.S. Government Office of War Information, Propoganda Analysis

1947-1951 -- Director of Chinese Project of Columbia University Research in Contemporary Cultures

1951-1952 -- Works on Bureau of Applied Social Research project on techniques of interviewing

1953 -- Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University

1955 -- Research Associate, Institute of Intercultural Studies

1962 -- Teaching-consultant, Columbia University School of Nursing

1969-1987 -- Senior Research Associate, Columbia University

1974-1976 -- Chair, Section H, AAAS

1990 -- Dies January 14 in New York City at the age of 91

Selected Bibliography

1929 -- The Pueblo Potter, A Study of Creative Imagination in Primitive Art. New York: Columbia University Press.

1932 -- "Zuni Ritual Poetry." Ibid. "Introduction to Zuni Ceremonialism." 47th Annual Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution. Washington: Government Printing Office. "Zuni Creation Myths." Ibid. "Zuni Katchinas." Ibid.

1933 -- Zuni Texts. Publications of the American Ethnological Society, Vol. 15. New York: G.E. Stechert and Company.

1938 -- "Zuni Grammar." Handbook of American Indian Languages, Vol. 3. New York: Columbia University Press. "The Economic Organization of Primitive People." Ibid. "Primitive Art." General Anthropology. Boston: D.C. Heath .

1940 -- "The Role of Alcoholism in Two Central American Communities." Psychiatry, Vol 33, pp. 361-387.

1950 -- Explorations in Chinese Culture. Research in Contemporary Cultures, Columbia University. (unpublished report)

1952 -- Chichicastenango, A Guatemalan Village. Publications of the American Ethnological Society, Vol 22. Locust Valley, New York: J. J. Auigustin. with John Weakland. An Anthropological Approach to Chinese Communism. Research in Contemporary Cultures, Columbia University. (unpublished report)

1960 -- edited with Margaret Mead. The Golden Age of American Anthropology. New York: George Braziller.

1966 -- "May Mandelbaum Edel 1909-1964." American Anthropologist, Vol 68, No. 4, pp. 986-989.

1976 -- "Chamula and Chichicastenango: A Reexamination." Cross-Cultural Approaches to the Study of Alcohol. The Hague: Mouton.
Related Materials:
Other materials relating to Ruth Bunzel at the National Anthropological Archives include correspondence with the Bureau of American Ethnology in MS 4846 and the Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology; the Ruth Leah Bunzel photographs of Quiche peoples of Guatemala (Photo Lot 2007-10); and a photograph of Bunzel in Photographic Lot 92-35. The Human Studies Film Archive has a video oral history of Bunzel (HSFA 89.10.8) which was created as part of the "History of Anthropology Series" produced by the University of Florida's Department of Anthropology.
The bulk of these papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Columbia University's Department of Anthropology.
The collection is open for research.

Access to the collection requires an appointment.

Materials with student grades were separated and have been restricted. Most of the restricted materials are not open for access until 2030.
Contact repository for terms of use.
See more items in:
Ruth Leah Bunzel Papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives

Research in Contemporary Cultures

Collection Creator:
Bunzel, Ruth Leah, 1898-1990  Search this
4.2 Linear feet
Archival materials
Scope and Contents:
The Columbia University Research in Contemporary Cultures [RCC] was organized and directed by Ruth Benedict and funded by the Human Resources Division of the Office of Naval Research in 1947. RCC was organized to develop methods in studying contemporary cultures from a distance. Interdisciplinary groups composed of anthropologists, psychiatrists/clinical psychologists, sociologists, historians, political scientists, students, and other people with interests in cross-cultural problems were formed to study the following cultures: Chinese, Czech, French, Russians, Polish, Syrians, and East European Jewish. To gain more balanced perspectives, an effort was made to have group members that belonged to the culture being studied along with Americans and nationals of other countries. Invited by Benedict to participate in RCC, Bunzel directed the group studying Chinese culture. When Benedict passed away in 1948, Margaret Mead took over as director of RCC until 1951 when the project ended. Offshoots of RCC were created, including Studies of Soviet Culture [SSC] (directed by Mead) and Studies in Contemporary Cultures [SCC] (directed by Rhoda Métraux); both projects were sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History.
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.

Access to the collection requires an appointment.

Materials with student grades were separated and have been restricted. Most of the restricted materials are not open for access until 2030.
Collection Rights:
Contact repository for terms of use.
NAA.2006-22, Series 2
See more items in:
Ruth Leah Bunzel Papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives


Collection Creator:
Edel, May M. (May Mandelbaum), 1909-1964  Search this
Edel, Abraham, 1908-2007  Search this
1 Linear foot
Archival materials
circa 1930s - circa 1960s
Scope and Contents:
This series consists of May M. Edel's research files, primarily from her time as a graduate student at Columbia University. Materials include handwritten and typed field notes; typescript drafts of reports; note cards; and miscellaneous unsorted papers, some of which might be lecture notes that were mixed in.

Subjects include her fieldwork in Washington with the Okanagan, 1930; fieldwork with the Chiga in Uganda, 1932-1934; and fieldwork with Jewish families in Brownsville, New York as part of the Columbia University Research in Contemporary Cultures Project, 1947.

Please note that some of the Okanagan files are in fragile condition.

Files are arranged alphabetically by fieldwork subject. General research notes are filed at the end.
Collection Restrictions:
The May Mandelbaum Edel papers are open for research.
Collection Rights:
Contact the for terms of use.
Collection Citation:
May Mandelbaum Edel papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
NAA.2005-27, Series 1
See more items in:
May Mandelbaum Edel papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives

The study of culture at a distance, edited by Margaret Mead and Rhoda Met́raux

Mead, Margaret 1901-1978  Search this
Métraux, Rhoda 1914-2003  Search this
Physical description:
x, 480 p. diagrs. 25 cm
Anthropology--Methodology  Search this
Civilization--Study and teaching  Search this
Call number:
GN33 .M4X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

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